10 Safar 1440 AH • 20 October 2018

UCT lecturer issues apology after “inappropriate” remarks on breaking fast


A UCT lecturer has apologized for his remarks made via email to a Muslim student asking to break her fast during exams. The message went viral yesterday after it was posted on social media by the aggrieved student Nuhaa Soeker. In a statement, UCT management said the comments were inappropriate and disrespectful. In his apology, UCT lecturer John Higgins said his response was “appallingly ill-considered and hurtful, and had caused offence” to the student. He added that he was “deeply ashamed by his lapse in judgement”.

A screenshot of the lecturers response to the UCT student: 

UCT has been criticized by Muslim students for failing to consider their religious obligations, with some students angry that they will write exams on Eid Day.

The university has responded, saying there are concessions in place for Muslim learners as part of their general protocols and rules.

Some of these concessions are:

– Students sitting for exams are allowed to sit quietly at their desks and break their fast, as has been the case in the past
– students are allowed to take a short break should they wish to exit an exam session, during which they will be escorted by an invigilator
– Students who wish to not write a paper on Eid day (June 15th) may apply for a deferred exam to be written early in the second semester and not later than six months, as has been the case previously
– Students with exams scheduled for the 8am session on June 15th can ask for a late start – they will write the same paper at 9am on the same day

UCT management said there would be deep introspection within the department and faculty on this matter.

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